Living The Life That God Has For Us....
God's Plumbline Ministries is called to repair devastation in the lives of God's people allowing restoration both physically and spiritually. Providing creative solutions for employment, education and life skills allowing God to repair and restore hope. Empowering each community to establish a secure foundation both inside and out, while keeping in tact God given talents and uniqueness, not focusing on man's ways but God's ways. Developing working relationships within social and economic circles, working hand in hand with community leaders to bring the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Maybe you could call me the purse police! I am always on the look out for a new idea. The idea for this bag came as I walked down the street with Katie. She hadn't been here more than an hour or two but I had my eye on her bag. She mentioned that it was a gift from her sister on her recent trip to Africa - perfect! As soon as I could I was asking her if I could "borrow" her bag so I could use it for a pattern.
She was happy to help and put all of her stuff in a plastic bag so I could use it for a few days. Our program has come full circle! Katie's sister helped a woman in Africa, now Katie was helping another woman in Haiti! Her name is Vanette. Vanette came to us while she was pregnant with her youngest baby, Michael. She graduated from literacy school and sewing school! She is amazing! She is working to support her family making "Katie Bags". I am really proud of her for how hard she has worked to make her life better.
This is the second style of bags that we will have available for you to purchase to help support Vanette and her family!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Everyone...meet Etrinne and her new baby, Usher. Yep, just like the singer!
Last Saturday we had finished the HARDEST part of our walk to Jacmel - I was finally feeling human again when my phone started to ring. I was glad it wasn't in the middle of the walk because I wouldn't have been able to talk because I was so out of breath.
Hint: This walk is just like many things in life - the hardest part is the middle!
The caller was telling me that Etrinne was at Doctors w/o Borders having her baby! What a great reward! Some of you know that HIV is something I am passionate about. I want our ladies to have the care and treatment they need to have a long life. I have been working hard to get her everything she needed to have this baby at the hospital which I have found is not always easy. Finally, it all fell into place! The system worked and she got it! Now he is here! He weighs 5 lbs 13 oz and is doing well.
BTW - the ultrasound said he was suppose to be a girl and she kept saying, no, a boy! Just like any other mom she only had girl clothes since that is what the doctor told her. She and Usher will continue to be in our program until he is one. Technically speaking that is! The day Etrinne walked into our program my life changed and will never be the same. She and Usher are why we are here doing what we are doing.
Please pray with me that his tests will continue to come back negative for HIV!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Today is our anniversary - number fourteen!
Three years ago we celebrated with Brenden and Janell as they got married in Florida during what turned out to be hurricane Katrina. This year we are celebrating our anniversary in Haiti with Gustav. Do you see a pattern? What is up with that?
We celebrated with taco's and cream soda! Woot!
Thank you to everyone who has been sending e-mails and praying for us! It means a lot to hear from everyone.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The idea for Hope Walk Haiti is to bring awareness to others about Haiti! Most people only hear how poor and scary Haiti is, never hearing how beautiful it is. It is beautiful, fresh and raw in ways that most people never see or experience; only seeing things like it in a magazine or on television. This walk is not for the casual walker. When you are dropped off and there is no way back, you have to go over. It is eight hours of hard walking. You won't see one Haitian complaining about the walk. You will find their lives fascinating - often leaving you speechless.
It will cost you something and you will be rewarded.
Please register at: http://www.heartofjonathan.com
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Yesterday we walked to Jacmel. Our journey started when we left the house at 3:30 in the morning, dranking good strong coffee we picked up Beth and met up with the Hojara's (plus twenty five kids) and made our way up this side of the mountain. Dan and Ted would take us in trucks up this side of the mountain, we would walk across to Sequin and they would pick us up on the other side - easy!
I did say MOUNTAIN!
I am sore this morning, but I am really happy I did it. They say, it is easier the second time! I guess I am still in the place that you are in after you have a baby! Meaning, it takes awhile before you think you can do it again! So, ask me in couple of weeks.
As we walked the teenagers left us in the dust! Beth, Lisa and I made our way slow and steady over the trail. I can still hear Beth's words, "Yeah, for us it is about the journey and not just the walk!"
More on the walk later....Enjoy your journey!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
One of my mother's favorite sayings while I was growing up was -
"what does that have to do with the price of rice on a hot day in New York?"
I never really had an answer and didn't know until later that she wasn't looking for an answer.
However, today I do have an answer to the price of rice in Haiti.
ANSWER: Meet Vadette - she makes messenger bags out of old rice sacks. She is part of our program and is working on supporting her family, building hope, confidence and dignity.
This is just a sneak peak at what we are doing about the price of rice in Haiti, not to mention it is one of our best selling bags!
Soon you can purchase these bags to support our program and help change a woman's life.
Stay tuned....I will be adding another lady and her bags soon!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I am almost finished with "The Shack". It has been one of those books that has taken me forever to finish because at the end of the day I can only read a page or two and I end up falling asleep.
I have a few favorite parts but hands down I LOVE the line that says....Learning To Live Loved.
Living in Haiti I want to know what a Haitian would think of this book. They understand the pain of life so much more than what I have ever known and understand the loss of a child as part of life here. Would they understand or embrace God being a black woman? And yet that is one of my favorite parts. Everyone wants to live their life being loved, by God, by someone, right? But what does that look like here? I don't know, maybe they would love it - a sweet mama to take care of them. What about the white baby born with all the animals to a teenager mother? I wouldn't think that would fit either but that is the story of Jesus and his birth. Our picture of God is important and it often has to change. Change can be painful. No matter what my picture is or your picture is, it is most important that we learn to live being loved. I am willing to learn.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Her name is Olivia and she is one of my most favorite little people in Haiti. Her story started off a bit scary but she is proof of how much Jesus loves children. I have to say that HIV in children is one of the hardest things for me to deal with here in Haiti. I have become passionate about treatment for mothers and children. I can't begin to explain or understand HIV in the life of anyone. I don't know how it feels and I am not good at the debate of why it all stated. But, I have found God's hand to be sweet when he moves on the behalf of children, allowing children up to two years in age to revert back to a negative status.
Friday, August 15, 2008
If I said the word sewing school to you, I am sure you wouldn’t see a picture of Felix Unger and Oscar Trevor Madison in your mind. Instead you would be thinking about ladies working with different fabrics sitting at treadle sewing machines making beautiful bags. But as I was thinking about our upcoming graduation, The Odd Couple seemed like the perfect word picture to me.
We are talking about bringing two very different cultures together to create a program that can live and breath on it’s own. John reminded me yesterday that we are on the front line with these ladies fighting for change. He said, think about their lives and what they where doing six months ago before they entered school. We are working to create a place for women to be educated on so many levels of their lives and challenged on things that may have never mattered in the past. Creating a place where they can build self-confidence, bring hope to their families and provide for them.
When we first started school, John said to me, “If you have one that graduates, this will be a success”. I will be honest; I didn’t find his words encouraging. We made the rules hard and it would cost them something thing, personally they would have to change some things to get here everyday and get here on time.
Today, I am left without the proper words to tell you how happy I am to have a graduating class of seven ladies push through manifestations, sick children and the many, many other things in order to graduate. I am thankful they are willing to be part of The Odd Couple. I promise not to eat really awful food or make strange noises while holding my nose. We can let John do all of those things.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
October 2000 was my first trip to Haiti and the first time I met Jean Kelley.
He had an infection in his leg that had gone untreated for so long that his leg had split open - really! I still can't imagine the pain he was in and he never said a word. He had come to the clinic we did in the mountains above Pestel for treatment. It still makes my stomach flip-flop thinking about the penicillin locking up as we gave him a shot. Several months later I came back and spent three weeks taking care of him with my kids after setting up an operation to fix his leg.
I will never forget the doctor asking me if I had Advil?
Advil? Ummm, yeah!
And they rolled him off the bed on to a cot and two guys carried him down the stairs and put him in the truck for me to take him home. They just sent us on our way after opening his leg from the ankle to the knee, digging a new canal in his bone to hopefully get rid of infection and creating new area for marrow to grow in order to save his leg. I remember sitting in the truck looking at the mountains thinking about the scripture that talks about mountains being moved in one day thinking how he needed that same kind of miracle at that very minute. Again, never saying a word about being in pain.
I have spent eight years keeping track of him, getting him medical treatments when needed and having a new x-ray done to check on his leg on every trip I made to Haiti.
I am now his white mama! He is really part of our family.
Today, I can look back at those same mountains and really know that a miracle did happen for Jean Kelley. His leg is fine. Not pretty, but fine. He can play sports and walk with no problem. I do love him like he was my boy - well, he is my boy!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
We have this on going battle at our house and it goes like this...
Every time we get ready to go some place Parker tends to get ready first. Well, most of the time! But the problem is he can't seem to stay clean. As we are walking out the door I often find myself saying, Parker, go get on some clean clothes so we can go and at least you will leave the house clean. Today, I may have won this battle. Well, for today that is. We had plans to be some place at six o'clock. Parker, was again, the first one ready. As I looked out side to check on him I saw him digging in the flower box in front of the house. Seeing his hands black with dirt I said, I will make you take a shower again if you don't get out of the dirt!
But Mooommmm - it is only my fingers!
I don't care! I will make you take another shower!
His eyes got really big and he backed away from the flower box.
He did leave the house clean!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Yikes, we had a busy weekend!
We started with English Camp graduation on Friday at 2:00 - I guess you can tell which one is Parker!
For Maddie's birthday on Saturday we spent time with Joseph at Visa Lodge swimming one last time. At 5:00 we had a "Good Bye" party for Joseph, Chelsey and Yverline, Jori and Katie and finally a sleep over at our house with the little girls for phase two of Maddie's party. Sunday was church and phase three for Maddie's birthday with everyone here for lunch!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Today is Maddie's Birthday! Woot!
This is another picture from our adventure to Pestel....It's a little windy in the back of the truck!
Yesterday Parker said to me, "Mom, living in Haiti is like going to Disney, just with out the rides". I am pretty sure that this is a true statement! But, I would have to say that riding in the back of the truck has always been a wild ride!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Here are some things you may not know about Haiti:
- Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world, with eighty percent of the population living in abject poverty.
- Nearly half the population is chronically undernourished.
- Healthy life expectancy at birth is only 43 years.
- The government is not able to provide the resources to educate the nation's next generation.
- The unemployment rate is over 80%.
- More than half of Haitians live on less than a dollar a day.
- There are few paved roads, an inadequate supply of potable water, minimal utilities, and depleted forests.
- Less than 20% of Haitians age 15 and over can read and write.
- Fewer than 75% of children attend school.
- 40% of the Haitian population does not have access to primary health care.
- The United Nations estimates 6% of Haitians are infected with HIV/AIDS. The highest rate in the Western Hemisphere. An estimated 30,000 people die of AIDS every year.
- One in twenty Haitians is infected with HIV/AIDS and there are over 150,000 AIDS orphans.